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Male, born 1830-11-26, died 1905-01-27

Associated with the firms network

Barber, P.J., Architect; Clark Reuben, Architect; Huerne, Prosper L.E., Architect and Engineer

Professional History


Cabinet-maker's apprentice, Windham, OH, c. 1847-1849.

Cabinet maker and carpenter, Cleveland, OH, 1849-1852.

Gold miner, Marysville, CA, 1852-1855.

Draftsman, Prosper Huerne, Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1855

Draftsman, Reuben S. Clark, Architect, San Francisco/Sacramento, CA, c. 1862.

Principal, P.J. Barber, Architect, Santa Barbara, CA, 1869-c. 1900. His obituary in the The Morning Press, Santa Barbara, stated of his career in the city: "Quite a number of Santa Barbara's public buildings and private residences bear testimony to his ability in his chosen profession, chief among which are the county court house, Arlington hotel and annex, First Prebyterian church and First National bank building, he having planned and had charge of construction of building aggregating in value to the sum of $1,250,000." (See "Death Summons Peter J. Barber," The Morning Press, Santa Barbara, 01/29/1905, p. 2.) In 1886, Barber had an office on De la Viña Street, between Carillo and Cañon Perdido Streets. (See Independent Publishing Company's New Directory of the City of Santa Barbara, Cal., 1886, p. 22.)

Of his retirement, his obiituary stated: "During the past few years he has ceased from life's activities and has lived in retirement until death summoned him to pass from earthly scenes." (See "Death Summons Peter J. Barber," The Morning Press, Santa Barbara, 01/29/1905, p. 2.)

Mayor, City of Santa Barbara, CA, 1880-1882, 1890-1892.

Postmaster, United States Postal Service, Santa Barbara, CA, 1882-1890.

Barber had an approximately 20-year career in local politics in Santa Barbara. His obituary summarized his accomplishments: "In 1880 he was elected mayor of the city, serving one term and in 1882 was appointed by President Arthur as postmaster of the city. After much solicitation on the part of his friends he again became a candidate for the mayoralty in 1890 and was elected by a large majority. During his administration many public improvements were made, of which the boulevard, Plaza del Mar, and the outfall sewer are the most notable. In the death of Mr. Barber the city has lost one of its most respected citizens, beloved, by a large number of friends and acquaintances, one who has always held the city's best interests at heart, giving the best years of his life to the promotion of its general welfare." (See "Death Summons Peter J. Barber," The Morning Press, Santa Barbara, 01/29/1905, p. 2.)



Born in the Portage County town of Nelson, OH, Peter Barber grew up in the vicinity of Windham, OH, also in Portage County, 48 miles southeast of Cleveland. He apprenticed as a cabinetmaker in Windham, before moving to Cleveland, OH, to work in furniture businesses there. He stayed here for about three years doing cabinet-making and carpentry before being drawn to California during the Gold Rush. According to his obituary in The Morning Press of Santa Barbara: "In 1849, he went to Cleveland, where he followed cabinet making and carpentry, and at the same time took up the study of architecture." (See "Death Summons Peter J. Barber," The Morning Press, Santa Barbara, 01/29/1905, p. 2.)

Barber left the Port of New York in 02/1852 bound for Panama, where he encountered 9,000 other travelers waiting to catch ships to CA. He obtained passage on the ship Clarissa Andrews and spent the next 65 days sailing to San Francisco. He made his way to Marysville, CA, where he and friends made attempts at gold mining. He tried to strike it rich for three years before he gave up and returned to San Francisco and became a carpenter. He gradually learned drafting skills and obtained work in the offices of architects Prosper Huerne (1820-1892) and, later, Reuben S. Clark (d. 1866), the latter being the architect of the California State Capitol #6 in Sacramento, CA.

He passed away in Santa Barbara on Friday, January 27, 1905 at 10:30 in the evening at the age of 74. The Channel City Lodge of the Odd Fellows handled his funeral services. Paying for and staging funeral services was a chief benefit of belonging to fraternal organizations during the nineteenth century.


He wed Mary J. Wheaton in 1859 in San Francisco, CA.


He and Mary had four children: Samuel M. Barber, Sylvia S. Barber (Mrs. H.A. Rogers), Ella F. Barber (Mrs. R.M. Wood), and Alice F. Barber (Mrs. W.J. Andrews). In 1905, Sylvia resided in Santa Barbara, while Ella and Alice lived in San Francisco.

Biographical Notes

Member, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Channel City Chapter. His obituary stated that "Mr. Barber was a prominent member of the Channel City lodge of Odd Fellows and was also connected with other fraternal orders." (See "Death Summons Peter J. Barber," The Morning Press, Santa Barbara, 01/29/1905, p. 2.)

PCAD id: 5168